Small business owners are some of the most driven, self-disciplined people I know. So why is it that most of us feel guilty if we aren’t working 12 hours every weekday and most weekends? We tell ourselves, and others, how we love being self-employed because it allows us to have freedom. But we don’t allow ourselves to enjoy that freedom.
I took a couple of hours off recently to support a friend in need and when I was enjoying a cup of tea with her after, I kept thinking, “you’re allowed to work flexible hours, stop feeling guilty”. If I were a salaried employee somewhere, I would be entitled to a little extra time here and there since I work so many hours.
Why do we feel guilty for taking much needed breaks?
- Are we afraid the company will fall apart if we aren’t there all the time?
- Do we worry our employees will think we’re shirking?
- Do we live in fear that our clients will leave us if we aren’t at our desks when they call us?
Yes, to all of these.
Or, is it simply we lack confidence? Do we feel worried that if any of the above happens, as we fear, that we’re somehow inadequate?
I’d say that’s probably the real reason.
We drive ourselves because we fear.
- We fear failure.
- We fear disappointing others.
- We fear success.
Whatever we fear, we let it turn into worry which in turn becomes lack of confidence. This keeps us from acknowledging what hard workers we truly are and how much we get done every day. Let go of the fear and have confidence that your employees and your client’s value you and are not watching over your shoulder. This will free you to enjoy the “freedom” you believe you are working so hard to have.
Take a breather now and then; even in the middle of a work day! Relax, enjoy the good life. We live in paradise and are so blessed every day. Focus on enjoying your time off. Don’t let guilt interfere with your down time. You will probably find that you are more productive when you take those much-needed breaks. Stop feeling guilty for living the life you are working so hard to have and walk in the confidence that you deserve it!
Sherry Lutz Herrington is the owner of Sherrington Financial Fitness, a business consulting and accounting firm specializing in strategic business planning and solid financial accounting for businesses. She is also the author of Strong Women Thriving (https://strongwomenthriving.com/), a blog which focuses on empowering women to be financially savvy, particularly after experiencing financial abuse. Sherry is currently writing a new book that both shares her personal story and addresses financial abuse. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.